It was definitely about time for us to take another day trip out of Valencia, and finally head to Sagunto together. I visited Sagunto 3/4 years ago so I was excited to go back and show Ryan. There’s something great about revisiting a place, appreciating details that you had forgotten about and noticing new things.
Sagunto is a town situated 30km north of Valencia so it’s super close for anyone wanting to pop out of the city. It’s home to some impressive castle remains, the history of which extend over 2000 years. Situated on a hilltop, the hike up is definitely worth your time as you can enjoy picturesque views of the town and surrounding mountains. So if you fancy a day trip combining history and nature, this is definitely the place for you.
How to get there from Valencia
The best way to get to Sagunto from Valencia is by train. The train line C6 will take you there from Valencia Nord (the main train station) in just 35 minutes. There are trains every 30-60 minutes depending on the day, you can check the times here. A return journey costs €7,40 which you can buy from the ticket machines in the station.
Things to do in Sagunto
As I’ve already mentioned, the main thing to do in Sagunto is visit the castle remains. The other main sights are a Roman theater and an archaeological museum. It is also a lovely town to walk through and admire the architecture, along with some churches which you can visit if you’re particularly interested.
Declared a National Monument in 1931, and stretching out over 1km, this castle has so much to offer history lovers. It’s split up into 7 sections and is soaked in history, made up of Iberian, Roman, Islamic and medieval remains. The site was apparently first settled by the Iberians in the early Iron Age and the Romans built a temple on the hill between 175 and 100 BC. Little is known about the castle during the Islamic period, but we do know that in 713 AD Sagunto was taken by the Muslim Empire, and in that time much of the castle and its walls were built. As you can tell, it is a fascinating place with a very diverse history. There are even Jewish tombs located under the castle’s walls!
Now for you non-history buffs, don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about you! The walk up to the castle from the train station is around half an hour, so it’s not too much of a hike. Tip: Once you pass the Roman theater, look out for the steps as a shortcut!
As you ascend, you will quickly realise the spectacular view that awaits you, which makes reaching the top even easier to conquer. When you get to the top, the views will definitely make you stop and stare (and take some scenic photos). There is so much to admire, from the view of the compact town below, to the rice fields all around, to the surrounding mountains. All this makes a wonderful background to the interesting and impressive castle remains. And lets not forget the beautiful blue Spanish sky making everything better and brighter.
As it covers quite a large area, it’s easy to spend lots of time wandering around, feeling the history and warm breeze in the air. I strongly recommend visiting every part, because the ruins are different and the views get even better as you verge west.
Useful information for visiting the castle
Recommended visit duration: 1h30
October 1 – May 31: Tuesday- Saturday 10am-6pm, Public holidays and Sunday 10am-2pm
June 1 – October 1: Tuesday- Saturday 10am-8pm, Public holidays and Sunday 10am-2pm
Sagunto’s Roman Theater dates back to the 1st century when it was built into the side of a mountain. It was the first place to be declared a National Monument in Spain in 1896 (even before Sagunto Castle). It lies just south of the castle, so it is easy to combine a visit of the theater and castle at the same time.
It was abandoned for many centuries, before a huge renovation which was carried out from 1992 to 1994. There were pros and cons of this renovation; it meant that it could be used as a stage again, but it also lost a lot of its charm and it looks too new now. Objects found at excavations from the theater are on display in the archaeological museum, so for those particularly interested you can check it out.
On the plus side, the amphitheater is put to good use, making the most of its 8,000 people capacity. It is home to a classical theater festival Sagunt a Escena which takes place every July and August. It includes dance, theater and music performances, which are inspired or based on the ancient Greek and Roman culture.
When we were there we accidentally stepped back in time, and saw a Roman wrestling match between two prisoners. They were escorted by Roman soldiers, and many of the spectators were in full costume as Roman aristocracy.
Useful information for visiting the theater
November 1 – March 31: Tuesday- Saturday 10am-6pm, Public holidays and Sunday 10am-2pm
April 1 – October 31: Tuesday- Saturday 10am-8pm, Public holidays and Sunday 10am-2pm
So, if you’re visiting or living in Valencia, Sagunto is a great option for a quick and interesting day out. Whether you’re interested in history or not, it’s definitely worth your time to get out of the city and take in those wonderful views. Have you ever been to Sagunto? Would you like to go? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
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